38e0e049e731d5d7b1d8ced8d5c260ffI spent some time on the weekend with a friend who wears makeup most days: Foundation, concealer, mascara, a touch of lippy. What she was keen for was to learn how to learn how to take her makeup to the ‘next level’: My friend was keen to mix up her makeup look a little: But she just didn’t know how. This is something I hear a lot: “I want to do something different with my makeup but I have no idea where to start”, or something along those lines! So, armed with my makeup kit, and a kick-butt antipasti platter and some quality vino, we set ourselves up at the kitchen table and got playing.  Here’s a quick roundup of the top makeup tricks that my buddy reckoned will make a big difference in her makeup regime. I hope there’s something in here that’s a game changer for you.

dark-circles-under-eyesKiss goodbye to dark circles.  My friend battles with dark under-eye circles. To the rescue here was a peach tinted concealer to cancel out the blueness (quick art lesson: Orange/peach is the opposite of blue on the colour wheel, therefore the colours balance each other out). Product used: Mac Prep & Prime in ‘Bright Forecast’. This is great on olive skin.  Pale beauties will love Bobbi Brown’s Corrector (in Peach).  To apply, simply take your ring finger and swipe a teeny amount under your eyes. Follow up with foundation to return the colour to skin-tone, or follow up with a concealer the same colour as your skin.

urban decay primer potionEyelid primer –  If I was a makeup sales assistant I’d push this product.  Everytime I have a makeup party or do a makeup lesson, I have people running to the hills to buy eye primer product! Eye primer, which is different to regular primer (i.e. the kind you use pre-foundation application) is a miracle product and the secret behind any beautiful eyeshadow look. An eyeshadow primer will keep your eyeshadow in place all day, stop it from creasing and make the colours  oh-so-vibrant and easy to blend.  There’s coloured primers or skin-coloured primers available.  I recommend the latter for versatility.  If, like me, you are oily skinned with oily eyelids, don’t muck around, go for the McDaddy primer, Urban Decay Primer Potion.  Those with normal/dry/combo skin will love  ELF (Kmart or iherb) or Australis (Farmers) primer at smidgen  of the price.  All you do is apply a teeny bit (teeny, think 2-3 pinheads) to the eyelid prior to eyeshdaow and simply blend it in all over your eyelid.

Art deco brow powderBrows do Matter – Yeah, I’m still bleating on about this. As we get older our brows get sparser and lighter. Brows frame our face. Filled in brows can make us look younger. So why, oh why, are brows the most neglected part of our face when it comes to our daily makeup routines? It only takes two minutes to fill your brows in with a brow powder (or an eyeshadow). Opt for a colour that is one to two shades later than your hair colour and you have a complete game-changer. My buddy gasped at the difference her filled in brows made. “Wow”, she said. “I’d never have thought of doing that”.  If you are looking for a fabulously affordable product, I recently discovered Art Deco’s Eyebrow powder. It’s fabulous.  NZ$9 from Farmers (Art Deco isn’t in all Farmers stores though, sorry! Also available online through Beauty Bay).  Here’s my blogpost especially devoted to brow lovin’.

Blend, blend, blend – The key to beautiful eyeshadow is blending. You want your eyeshadow to seamlessly blendfluffy blending brush away (or, if you are wearing more than one colour, you want the colours to blend into each other like a rainbow).  The key to achieve all of this is a fluffy eyeshadow blending blush. Swipe the brush back and forth, in a windshield wiper motion at the edge of the colour to soften any harsh lines.  How much blending? To give you an idea, with any eyeshadow application I’ll swipe the brush back and forth on the ‘line’ of the eyeshadow anywhere up to twenty times. Basically, I blend as much as is necessary until I have reached the point where you can’t tell where the eyeshadow line finishes.  Blending brushes I love: MAC 217 brush (NZ$48), or for a cheaper alternative, Bdellium’s 776 brush (NZ$9) is a fabulous, if slightly scratchier, dupe.  Speaking of blending, this brings me onto my next tip…

Brushes do matter. Back in the day I had one eyeshadow brush and I used to wonder why I could never pull off sophisticated eyeshadow looks. These days I’ll easily use three different brushes to achieve one eyeshadow look. My three must haves are: 1) A flat stiff brush for packing colour onto the eyelid; 2) A blending brush for getting rid of harsh eyeshadow lines, and; 3) A smaller detailed brush, like a pencil brush for precision work (MAC 219 brush is fabulous NZ$68).  There’s more brushes I reckon you need, but these are the three brushes you can’t do without.  Here’s a blogpost I did a while back on eyeshadow brushes. Invest in brushes and start playing. You’ll be amazed at the difference. That brings me onto the last point..

Practice.   Leading up to the day where I proudly, but  nervously, wore winged out liquid eyeliner to work I had practiced the technique at least twenty times (and I still don’t reckon I’ve quite nailed it!).  So, when people say to me “you are so good with your eyes, I can’t do that” I usually reply with “I couldn’t either. I practiced”

So, makeup game changers: What’s the one tip/trick/product you’ve got that was a game changer for you?